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Forestry Tasmania - Tasmanian Devil Killed in Burn

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 28 March 2023

Tags: Tasmanian Devil

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise to talk about some shocking photos of an incinerated Tasmanian devil, which were handed to the Bob Brown Foundation last weekend. They appear to be from the previous veterinarian of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, who was one of the people who received the photos. They are photos of a juvenile Tasmanian devil, a young one year-old.

I seek leave of the Leader of the House to table the photos. I have already asked the acting Leader of Government Business and the Opposition if I can do that and they said it would be all right.

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER - The question is that leave be granted?

Leave granted.

Dr WOODRUFF - These are very disturbing images. They show a devil seemingly trying to escape from its den. They are in a Forestry Tasmania coupe that had been clearfelled and then napalm-like incendiaries dropped from helicopters laid waste to the landscape, burnt everything and roasted all the remaining life that was there.

Not only was it the case that they took down all the trees but every time we see a forestry burn, every time at this time of the year, every possible day that they can, they will burn the landscape - such hot intense burns that nothing at all survives. What is left is ash. It is purposely done so that the land can be reseeded, typically, with monocultures.

This is so far from sustainable management and world's best practice. This is a climate and biodiversity crisis. This is the way Forestry Tasmania manages for our future in a climate and biodiversity crisis. Everything post-logging is burnt alive. That includes not just Tasmanian devils.

How could it be that a den with a live devil in it remained in a coupe that was given a Forestry Practices Plan tick-off. How could Forestry Tasmania get a tick-off when there are devil dens, critically endangered Tasmanian devils that our good children around this state have saved their pennies for to go towards the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program. People in Australia every single day go out of their way to do everything possible to protect this iconic, beautiful, important top predator species and yet our state-owned government business kills them on a regular basis. It does not just kill them, it burns them alive. It is not good enough that it destroys their habitat; it will destroy every living thing left in that landscape - the lizards, the snakes, the insects, the birds, the bettongs, the quolls, everything. It is clearly the case, and we know it. The evidence is there for everyone to see. Just go to the Wentworth Hills, go to the takayna/Tarkine, go to our southern forests, go to the Grove of Giants.

I went there again on the weekend because it is the most glorious place in Tasmania. It has over 300 trees of the size that Victoria classifies as giant trees. It has 150 trees that are classified as giant trees in Tasmania. It is in a coupe to be logged because this Government does not care at all about the climate crisis. It does not care about biodiversity. It is all grist to Forestry Tasmania's mill. It is all about clearfelling.

We know from the work of Dr Jen Sanger that 1 per cent goes into something like a product that can hold carbon for more than a couple of years; 60 per cent stays on the forest floor to be burnt, along with all the animals. They cannot escape. But who cares about them because they are not critically endangered species? Oh, yes, oops, one of them was; at least one.

Vale, this beautiful young Tasmanian devil that tried to escape. The image reminds me of those bodies in Pompeii, those people who tried to escape. Whether that devil died from being burnt physically, from the thermal shock, or from the heat of the air we will never know. I am absolutely confident Forestry Tasmania has never done an audit of the animals that remain in the forest after a clearfell. Why would they? They do not want to know. It is only a climate and biodiversity crisis.

It is not just the animals. Humans are affected by these noxious, vile, planet-defiling burns. It is the people who live nearby in the local community. People with serious respiratory disorder? Who cares about them? Forestry Tasmania, state-sanctioned clearfelling and logging - the corruption and the disgusting abuse of our beautiful wildlife beggars belief. We care and the people who found it, Colette Harmsen, Jenny Weber, and the bushwalker who did the work of bringing those stories to life because it happens every day.